Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve went over several prospects to keep an eye on in 2020. Today, though, we’ll go over which prospects could make a big impact for your fantasy team. And we’ll be focusing on the NL East, as we’ll give you one prospect from each team to watch in 2020.
Top Fantasy Prospects in NL East
Braves : Kyle Wright
We’ll go with Wright over Christian Pache and Drew Waters, both top prospects in the Braves system, but two players who may not have an open spot in the Braves lineup at any point next season. Considering the Braves currently have Austin Riley, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Nick Markakis slotted in their outfield, there most likely won’t be any room for those two with the Braves in 2020.
Wright started last season in the Majors, but was quickly demoted after a nightmarish start to his season in 2019 (8.69 ERA, 6.16 FIP, 1.88 WHIP). Wright returned to Gwinnett (AAA), and spent most of the season there, aside of four appearances with the Braves (1 in July, 3 in September). The right-hander from Vanderbilt pitched fine, averaging over a strikeout an inning while doing a decent job of limiting fly balls (1.24 GO/AO ratio). Still, he struggled with his command at times in AAA, and that was a major problem when he was in Majors in 2019 (6.09 BB/9 in MLB during 2019).
Wright certainly has the stuff to be an effective starter, and he’s with a strong Braves team, hence why he’s on our “Prospect Sleeper” List. There’s still questions about his command and control, but if he can better command his pitches, you need to keep an eye on him.
Recommendation: Wright has mixed 12-team format potential if he can crack their rotation, but a talented rotation in Atlanta and questionable command on Wright’s part may mean the righty may not have much 2020 value.
Marlins : Sixto Sanchez
The Marlins lost 105 games last season and are in the midst of a major rebuild. Arguably the crown jewel of their organization is Sixto Sanchez, who they acquired in the J.T. Realmuto trade. Sanchez is a four pitch righty who has quite the intriguing arsenal. Sanchez throws two fastballs (a two-seam and four-seam), both of which project to be strong pitches in the Majors. The Dominican right-hander also has a breaking ball and change in his arsenal, and Sanchez was able to use his explosive stuff to overwhelm hitters in the Minors last season.
Sanchez had a 2.53 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP across 103 innings last season in AA, while inducing a good amount of ground balls (1.44 GO/AO). While Sanchez will most likely start the 2020 season in the Minors, he could be up with the Marlins in short order. The big question is whether you should take the chance on him during the season should he get called up. While the Marlins won’t be a contender in 2020, Sanchez’s stuff could frustrate hitters in the Majors. Still, his potential is limited due to the fact he probably won’t get many wins.
Recommendation: Sanchez has an explosive arsenal, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding his 2020 fantasy value. NL-only formats should really only consider him.
Mets : David Peterson
The Mets have a pretty bottom-heavy system, as most of their top prospects are either in Class A or below. Because of that, there’s a very good chance that the Mets don’t have any prospects in their system make a big impact in the Majors this season. But for this list, we’ll go with David Peterson, the Mets first round pick in 2017. Peterson is a tall left-hander who can attack hitters on the lower half of the plate with a sinker-changeup combo that can throw off hitters’ timing. Peterson also possesses two breaking balls (slider and curve), with his slider receving plus grades (MLB Pipeline rates Peterson’s slider with a 60 grade).
In a keeper league, Peterson is definitely someone to watch, as he has good stuff and does a tremendous job of limiting hard-hit balls. In fact, Peterson yielded just nine home runs across 116 innings in 2019, and allowed just two in 127.2 innings in 2018. If you’re in a non-keeper league, then Peterson is probably someone to watch, but don’t expect him to make an impact in 2020.
The former Oregon left-hander will most likely start next season in Syracuse (AAA) after spending all of last season in AA, and will most likely stay there for most of the season unless there’s an injury in the Mets rotation. But on the odd chance he does get called up, he’s worth a look in a NL-only format.
Recommendation: It’s highly unlikely he makes an impact in the Majors in 2020, and he may not see the bigs until September, However, should he get the call this season, NL-only formats should keep an eye on him.
Nationals : Carter Kieboom
The defending World Series Champions got a brief look at what Kieboom could do in the Majors last season, and he may receive a larger role with the Nationals in 2020. The former first round pick by the Nationals spent most of last season with Fresno (AAA), where put up solid numbers in the Pacific Coast League. Kieboom had a slash line of .303/.409/.493, while hitting 16 home runs and had 79 RBI’s across 109 games.
MLB Pipeline‘s report on Kieboom lists him as a talented hitter with plus bat speed, but his power is still a bit raw. In a hitter-friendly league last season, Kieboom didn’t put up the gaudy power numbers you’d expect from a player who has plus power, but it should come over time. Kieboom also gets praise of his strong discipline at the plate, as he had 68 walks last season and has done a nice job to put up lengthy at-bats.
Kieboom will most likely get more time in the Majors next season, especially with the departure of Anthony Rendon to the Angels. Kieboom could see time at second, third and short, making him a very intriguing option for fantasy players next season.
Recommendation: Mixed leagues should consider him late in drafts, especially if the Nationals plan to play him at multiple positions.
Phillies : Damon Jones
There may be better prospects in the Phillies system than Damon Jones, but they may not get much time in the Majors next season. Which is why we’ll go with Jones, who may not be a household name, but he’s emerged as one of the better prospects in the Phillies system over the past 12 months. Jones was a 17th round pick by the Phillies in 2017 out of Washington State, and spent all of 2018 with Lakewood (A). Starting the 2019 season with Clearwater (A+), Jones dominated across two levels last season, forcing his way to Lehigh Valley (AAA) come July. While he struggled there (6.62 ERA, 1.56 WHIP), he was able to limit International League hitters to a .214 average.
Jones is a three-pitch lefty who certainly has an intriguing arsenal, thanks to his fastball, which gets a good amount of ground balls, and his curveball. However, he’ll need to work on his command and control, as even though he was able to miss a ton of bats last season, he struggled with keeping runners off base at times (Jones had a 4.65 BB/9 last season).
If Jones can improve his command, he may be able to make the jump to Philly next season, where he could be used as either a fill-in starter or reliever.
Recommendation: Because of his command struggles, as well as the possibility he may be used as a reliever, Jones has very uncertain value come next season. NL-only formats are the only ones that should consider him, and even that may be a stretch.